Bar Burrito Franchisee - Sameer Lalji
When I started thinking about becoming a franchisee I didn’t really have a particular cuisine or brand that I was committed to. I’d spent some time many franchise shows, but nothing caught my eye or excited my imagination.
At the time I considered myself as a typical consumer. I looked for fresh food with great taste and excellent value. I realized that I tended to eat more Mexican than pizza or sandwiches, and made a point of trying every Mexican quick-serve joint in the city, but I kept coming back to Bar Burrito. I loved the freshness in every bite, the massive amount of food in one compact burrito. This is a burrito you can enjoy while relaxed and sitting down, or while power-walking down the street, and either way, it’s wrapped so tightly you won’t get any food dripping down your shirt. I loved the way they presented the food, and the diversity of the menu… and I loved all this as a customer. I realized if I wanted to invest in something, it should be something that I, as a consumer, would want to eat.
I opened a branch of Bar Burrito in Mississauga in June 2011, which was successful enough that I was able to open a second branch at Yonge and Wellseley just six months later. It’s a very competitive franchising operation; I have the benefit of being part of a large buying group so the pricing of the suppliers is very reasonable. I get quality food with reliable service. On top of that, the franchise fees are competitive. And there’s plenty of opportunity for other avenues of business: Bar Burrito, unlike so many of its competitors, both delivers and offers catering services. The best part is my relationship with the franchiser; because the company is home-grown, Canadian, and still relatively small when I call, Alex picks up the phone. I always feel supported, and that my ideas are heard.
But my favourite part of my new career is the customers’ reaction once they’ve tasted our food. Many people in our city have never experienced Mexican cuisine and are hesitant, but once they try our Extreme Fries or our Pulled Pork Burrito, they’re happy with their choice to try something new. It’s a very competitive market and I believe that our cuisine has the “lasting power” to become as commonly accepted as burgers or pizza, while staying fresh and innovative when it comes to our product line. From our homemade hot sauce and our freshly made bright green guacamole to our nacho-encrusted Fish Burrito, I love that our customers appreciate our effort and walk out my door happy, and that I know they’re coming back.